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IV– A Retrospective on the Implementation of EFA

Making EFA Work: Partnerships Developed

The extensive proportions of EFA and the coverage of its focus groups required efforts and resources beyond the government’s capacity to provide. Saddled as it was then as it still is with demands from competing sectors, government had to turn to partners from among the stakeholders for assistance in bringing EFA to reality. Using the goals of EFA as the backdrop, the Government had consciously created a policy and project environment that encouraged the entry of these partners in development. Progress relating to these concerns during the past decade had been quite encouraging; private sector participation in the provision of pre-schooling and funding commitments made by international development agencies for basic education projects intended to improve educational services towards the attainment of EFA goals reached substantial proportions.

Increasing Involvement of the Private Sector

Although the elementary education level had been traditionally dominated by the public sector, the EFA decade saw private sector involvement growing from 5.2% of all elementary schools in 1991-92 to 7.5% in 1996-97 and from 6.7% of total elementary school enrolment in 1991-92 to 7.5% in 1996-97. Considering the large absolute numbers involved, the seemingly small percentage increases in private sector shares do represent significant progress in private sector provision of education in an otherwise crowded market. The number of government elementary schools grew by only 6.4% between 1991 and 1996 while private elementary schools increased by a whopping 54.7% during the same period. In terms of enrolments, the public sector increased by only 10.8%, while the private sector experienced a respectable 25.7% growth, also for the period between 1991 and 1996. The growth of the private sector, especially in respect of the number of elementary schools, illustrates the increasing role of the private sector, one that government should encourage if only to spread the burden of providing education. Tables IV-1 and IV-2 below show the growth of private sector elementary schools and enrolment.

Table -1: Number of Primary-Level Schools


Table -2: Enrolment in Primary-Level Schools

The situation in pre-schooling is very much different. Enrolment in pre-schools is divided almost equally between the public and private sectors (Table IV-3) and privately-run pre-schools account for a third of all pre-schools in the country (Table IV-4). These figures, however, are quite understated, since the DECS collects pre-schools data only from those that are part of regular elementary schools. There are plenty of stand-alone pre-schools that are therefore not counted in these statistics. Very little change can be expected in the distribution pattern for the elementary level, although the private portion of pre-schooling is seen to grow much more beyond its present share of the market. There had been a sizeable expansion in privately-run pre-schools during the EFA decade, indicating the private sector’s appreciation of the growing demand for pre-schooling and day care services and the government’s inability to put inject incremental investments in this level. A big surge in private sector participation in the provision of pre-schooling was spurred when the DECS initiated, in 1993, a community-based and community-financed pre-school programme for 5-6 year olds. However, the distribution pattern between public and private pre-schools returned to its previous level when government-established schools finally caught up starting in 1994.. The community-based approach relies on the communities themselves to establish and run pre-school facilities. Most pre-schools, especially in the urban areas, are thus operated by private entrepreneurs who may or may not have been organised as NGOs in its commonly understood meaning. In the elementary level, great headway has been observed in the growth of private elementary schools, offshoots of former pre-schools that have matured and have expanded into higher educational levels. An important segment of the elementary education sector has traditionally been the schools operated by religious missions and orders; these continue to maintain their presence especially in the cultural communities.

Table -3: Number of Pre-Schools

Table -4: Enrolment in Pre-Schools

External Assistance for EFA

International development assistance agencies (IDAAs) showed keen interest in supporting elementary education improvement projects. During the EFA decade, a number of projects supportive of EFA objectives and assisted by IDAAs were implemented by the Government. Notable among these for their scope and size of investment are the projects shown in Table IV-5 on the following page. The support that would eventually go to EFA through these major projects is in the order of US $626 Million, or roughly US $60 Million a year, including government counterpart funding. These projects are those that cover elementary education and do not include those that concern the secondary level alone. The infusion of external funds had done much to push EFA efforts forward. Reliance on regular government financing, through the annual budget, would not have been enough to carry out these development initiatives.

In addition to serving as the engines for development towards EFA, these projects allowed the "grand alliance" among public and private sector agencies involved in EFA to take root as planned under the PPA. This was to be realised through the new genre of basic education programmes and projects that were started under the framework of the MPBE. For example, under the on-going ADB Non-formal Education (NFE) Project, the NGOs have become active partners in the delivery of community-based literacy program. Incidentally, one of the most important and quite revolutionary innovations proposed under EFA is the "establishment of viable alternative learning system (ALS) encompassing non-formal and informal education" for which the Philippine EFA has been lauded by the world educational community especially during the Jomtien Conference. This has thus been partially fulfilled at the time of this assessment through the incorporation of the accreditation and equivalency component of ALS in the on-going

ADB NFE Project. This is a significant step in validating the feasibility and viability of non-school based learning channels

During the EFA decade, the UNDP initiated the Community Support Scheme (CSS) approach that was implemented in all the project sites. The CSS had a positive effect on the overall performance of the school and schoolchildren. With support from the parents, local officials, community members and volunteers, the schoolchildren’s performance had increased and the completion of incomplete schools catalysed.

In 1998, an early childhood development project was initiated through funding provided jointly by the World Bank and the ADB with support from UNICEF. This project aims to support locally-based programmes on child nutrition and health, parent effectiveness in child-rearing, and the child-readiness of elementary schools. The DOH, DSWD and DECS have their respective areas of implementation.

In the Third Elementary Education Project (TEEP) and its counterpart project at the secondary level (the Secondary Education Development and Improvement Project or SEDIP), the LGUs will play a key role particularly in the implementation of the School Building Program component. The decentralised nature of these projects will promote participation of parents, the community and LGUs in the development and implementation of local education development plans. The strengthening of the partnership between school, home and community and local government is another area of favourable development. Towards this direction, the DECS as part of self-managing schools under the TEEP package of reforms has expanded and revitalised the former Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) into PTCAs with the addition of the community. It was noted that some LGUs that have dynamic school boards have been helping in building schools and provided counterparts fund in TEEP implementation. One encouraging sign now is the imminent amendment of the Local Government Code which will spell out the new functions and composition of the LSB, which will be renamed the Local Basic Education Board and will subsume non-school based learning activities/ programs.

Many changes have already been done involving learning content, teacher training, school management, methods, and research application incorporated in TEEP and policy changes in the development and production of textbooks and improvement of the curriculum grid / ELCs in non-formal education.

The upgrading of teacher competencies and improving their welfare were seen in EFA as a fundamental and long-term policy measure to bring about quality basic education. For this purpose, the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) was established while better in-service and pre-service training were included in TEEP and the AUSAid-assisted Program in Basic Education (PROBE).

There had thus been no shortage of partnerships in pushing EFA. The local governments were placed in a position where they could, on their own support elementary and secondary education; the private sector had made a strong showing in pre-schools and slightly so in the regular elementary grades, lending more muscle to the early childhood development component of EFA; and the international development assistance agencies gave support and plenty of funds for both quantitative and qualitative improvements in basic education. And as the following discussion would reveal, education sector resources likewise saw resurgence, as the EFA decade coincided with the economic recovery that followed the lethargy of the 1980s and the early years of the 1990s.

Table -5: External Assistance to Primary Education


Project Period



Estimated Proj Cost

Early Childhood Development Project 1998-2003

Improvement of child health programs; enhancement of the micro-nutrient status of children; greater access to foods fortified with iron, iodine and Vitamin A; improvement of the Grade 1 curriculum and ECD services in 69 municipalities in at least 10 provinces.

World Bank & ADB US$ 40 M
Third Elementary Education Project 1997-2004

Targets resources to communities and schools in 26 poor provinces. Uses a grant mechanism and in-service training (INSET) to bring innovative approaches and improve learning outcomes. Will test decentralised models of education management which, if successful could be applied more broadly throughout the Philippines

World Bank US$113 M

Project on Basic Education (PROBE)

1995-2001 Improvement of teaching/learning in English and Math in the elementary and secondary levels; training and facilities for teacher education institutes, elementary and secondary schools and regional learning materials centres AUSAid US$ 26 M
Non-Formal Education Project 1994-1999

Development of functional education and literacy, continuing education and capacity building of non-formal education staff in DECS.

ADB US$ 25 M
Second Elementary Education Project 1990-1993

Financed part of the 1990-92 sub-sector investment plan, including essential civil works, school equipment, textbook production and distribution, INSET for teachers and administrators, and MIS development

World Bank US$ 200 M
Elementary Education Project 1991-1996 Construction, replacement and rehabilitation of academic classrooms, multi-purpose workshop buildings and toilets for elementary schools OECF US$ 200 M
Support Programme for the Universalisation of Quality Primary Education through Strengthening of the Multigrade (MG) Programme in Philippine Education. 1995-2000

Production and printing of teaching and learning materials (MLMs and Lesson Exemplars) to cover all grade levels and subject areas, capacity building of DECS through the training of multigrade teachers and orientation of school administrators at all levels, mobilisation of GOs, NGOs, LGUs, COs and POs in support of the MG programme through advocacy, networking and resource sharing.



US$ 1 M

Sources: Development Academy of the Philippines, Policies, Trends and Issues in Philippine Education (1997)

World Bank, Philippines – Education Sector Assistance Strategy Note, (1998).

Educational Development Projects Implementing Task Force (EDPITAF), PROBE

Supporting EFA through Internal Resources

Funding for Education in General

The Philippine Constitution guarantees that education should be given the largest appropriation from the national budget. Although at first glance the education budget may appear to enjoy only a small share in the total national budget in spite of the Constitutional provision, this portion becomes sizeable when expressed in terms of net available resources. The record (Table IV-6 below) for the EFA decade shows that the education sector’s share in the total budget pie has steadily increased from 13 percent in 1991 to 21 percent in 1998. This may appear modest due to the fact that the education budget covers the appropriations for DECS, SUCs, TESDA and CHED plus the School Building Program that is provided under the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). It therefore covers all levels of education and training. However, two obligatory transfer items -- the allocations for debt service requirements and the Internal Revenue Allotments (IRA) of the local government units (LGUs) must be netted out to obtain the amount of budgetary resources effectively available for distribution among the central government departments. Against this figure, the education sector’s share becomes quite significant. As Table IV-6 reveals, it has recovered from the debilitating effects of the economic crisis of the early 1990’s to its present (1998) level of 32 percent or one-third of net available government resources. Figure IV-1 shows this growth in graphical terms.

Support for Basic Education

Funding for elementary education has grown from 42.3 percent of the total education budget of the national government in 1989 to 59.1 percent in 1999. Although this was a mere recovery from the 60% that the elementary education sector enjoyed in 1987 and earlier years, the fact is that its share of sector resources has rebounded to its original level. The downturn in elementary education’s share was primarily caused by the nationalisation of the barangay (village) high schools in 1988, which caused a sudden upsurge in the proportion of funds that went to the secondary level. However, the economic recession and the ensuing fiscal austerity that occurred in the early 1990s bore down heavily on the secondary education sector, causing the fiscal realignments that saw elementary education once again getting the lion’s share of the budget pie. Figure IV-1 also shows the annual sharing of the national education budget between elementary education and the other subsectors.

Teacher Compensation

The EFA decade indeed proved to be a period of heightened support for basic education. From 1985 to 1995, the total compensation package for teachers grew by 400%, which was equivalent to a 5% annual rise in real income. Again, between 1996 and 1998 there were two more rounds of salary increases for elementary and secondary education teachers that have effectively raised their average current pay from between 8,000 to 10,000 pesos per month. In 1994, average teacher salaries were already 1.2 times higher than the poverty threshold and 1.3 times the minimum wage in the Philippines. Understandably, these salary improvements took a large slice off the incremental resources that were allocated to basic education during the EFA period, absorbing available funding that could have been otherwise provided for improving the level of critically-needed maintenance and other operating expenditures (MOOE).

Table -6: National Education Budgets (in billion Pesos)









































Total Education Budget










Total National Budget          





Debt Service (DS)          

















Ed Bud as % of Tot al Natl Budget










Ed Bud as % of Tot Nat Net of DS + IRA










Sources: 1990-1994 Data are World Bank estimates from World Bank (1996).

1995-1998 Data are from the General Appropriations Acts 1995-1998.

Sources: Data for 1989-1994 – World Bank, Philippines - Education Financing and Social Equity: A Reform Agenda, June 1996

Data for 1997-1999:- World Bank, Philippines – Social Expenditure Priorities, Nov 1998

Figure -1: National Government Budget for Education by Level

After the 1997 phase of salary adjustments, public elementary school teachers were getting, nation-wide, 1.80 times the salaries of their equivalents in the private sector, while public secondary teachers had a 1.65 proportional advantage. It was only in the National Capital Region where private school teachers in both levels had the edge. Public school teachers were receiving in 1997 only 0.87 and 0.82 times for the elementary and secondary levels, respectively against those from the private sector (Table IV-7).

Table -7: Comparative Salaries of Public and Private School Teachers

Recurrent Expenditures for Basic Education

In 1996, the World Bank published a study on education sector financing in the Philippines. In this study, it was mentioned that the recurrent expenditure student in 1989 was Pesos 2,281 and Pesos 2,698 in 1995, respectively, at constant 1993 prices. This means that there was only an 18 percent improvement in resource provision within that span of 6 years, which translates to an average annual increase of less than 3 percent. However, recurrent expenditures include both personnel and non-personnel costs of which the former is legislatively mandated and therefore not controllable for purposive resource allocation. Thus, the non-personnel portion of recurrent expenditures or MOOE is the more relevant measure of support for educational activities. It is from MOOE where funds are taken for the purchase of educational inputs (textbooks, supplies, etc.) and therefore has a direct bearing on the quality of education that could be provided. The World Bank (1996) further estimates MOOE for elementary education to have been Pesos 125 per student in 1994 (equivalent to $5 at the then prevailing exchange rate). The problem with the World Bank figure is that it was limited to the budget for regional operations and did not consider other elementary education-related costs that are centrally appropriated. A recent study that employed a more sensitive parcelling of DECS appropriations made possible a closer identification of the amounts of MOOE by level of education. As shown in Table IV-8 below, it was found that, using current pesos, that per student MOOE had improved somewhat in 1995, faltered in 1996 and made a recovery in 1997. Regardless of the positive changes in the absolute amounts of MOOE support, even the most current figure of Pesos 175 (equivalent to $6.70 at the 1997 exchange rate) is still so meagre. Therefore, it is quite questionable if the public educational system could have really provided the quality improvements needed by the elementary sector as enunciated under the EFA goals.

Table -8: Per Student MOOE at the Elementary Level Teachers at Current Prices






MOOE per student





Sources: 1994 data from World Bank (1996)

1995-97 data from: Diosdado P. Tuason, Financing Basic Education in Mindanao (Unpublished draft, 1998)

Major Capital Investments in Basic Education

There had been a continuous flow of capital investments into basic education, foremost of which is the School Building Programme that is administered by the DPWH on behalf of the DECS. Table IV-9 below presents the magnitudes of elementary school construction during the 1995-97. National appropriations for elementary school buildings ranged from 6 percent to 8 percent of the total education budget. This figure, however, is on the low end, as the expenditures made by local government units for similar construction projects financed from out of the Special Education Fund is not factored in. The World Bank (1996) has estimated that between 1991 and 1993, all LGUs combined spent roughly 33 percent of their budgets on capital expenditures, a great part of which was expected to go to school buildings. Considering the rising amounts of LGU IRAs, total public investments in school buildings could really be substantial.

Table -9: School Building Programme – Primary Level Portion, in billion Pesos





School Building Appropriations (SBP)




Total Education Budget




SBP as a % of Total Education Budget




Source: Diosdado P. Tuason, Financing Basic Education in Mindanao (Unpublished draft, 1998)

Textbooks are another major category of investment input into elementary education. As shown in Table IV-10, the purchase of textbooks represents nearly one-fourth of the DECS’ MOOE budget for elementary education. The large slice allotted for textbooks evidently places a tremendous strain on the finances of the DECS, considering the already very low per student MOOE appropriations. Be that as it may, however, the amounts provided for textbook procurement has been able to sustain only a pupil-textbook ratio of 8:1. The ratio has slid down to this low level ever since the production was removed from government responsibility and privatised. The average ratio of 1 textbook for every 2 pupils that prevailed during the early 1990’s can thus be reclaimed only if more funds are committed to textbooks, or if a more efficient way of providing learning using a minimum of textbooks could be found.

Table -10: Textbook Procurement Programme – Primary Education, in million Pesos





Textbook Procurement Appropriations (TPP)




DECS Elementary MOOE Budget




TPP as a % of DECS Elem MOOE Budget




Source: Diosdado P. Tuason, Financing Basic Education in Mindanao (Unpublished draft, 1998)

From the foregoing presentation, the support for EFA that came from the education sector’s internal resources was an ambivalent mix. There had been no consistency at all in the direction of funding allocation, and it is quite difficult to discern if there had been any conscious budgetary policy to give priority to quantitative expansion or to qualitative improvements. Substantial resources were allocated to raising teacher salaries, but MOOE levels remained at stagnant levels that were barely enough to provide the minimum teaching-learning needs in the classroom. Textbook funding had been drastically cut to the extent that textbook-pupil ratios had slid down to 1970 levels. Schoolbuilding funds, while representing a sizeable chunk of the education sector budget, are still not enough to close down the perennial shortage in classrooms. The share of elementary education from out of the total education sector budget may have improved immensely during the EFA decade, but the increase had been absorbed mostly by personnel costs, primarily teachers’ salaries without any adequate provision for teacher in-service training. In-service training remains to be project-based despite the establishment of the NEAP, mainly because of the lack of funding. What happened, and what is still happening is that the utilisation of funds is ineffective because of the tendency to spread the resources across so many concerns. A budget prioritisation policy that programs the allocation of funds so that high-need programmes are provided huge blocks of financing for a certain period to the sacrifice of other necessary, but lower-priority ones must be put into effect. Subsequently, the order of priorities and thus of programming could then be reversed. This seems to be about the only way to achieve the funding jump needed to push education forward, considering that funding limitations will never end.

The Efficacy and Impact of Philippine EFA Thrusts

This section will attempt to put together an assessment of the efficacy and impact of the various programmes and projects that comprised the Philippine EFA thrust for the last decade. Sadly, this effort is seriously handicapped by the fact that there has been almost no evaluation of the operational effectiveness of these initiatives, whether collectively or individually. Given this constraint, the present assessment thus had to satisfy itself with drawing indications from information obtained from various sources.

Early Childhood Care & Development

        1. Parent Effectiveness Service (PES)
        2. The inclusion of the PES within the UNICEF CPC IV 1979 provided the great surge in the expansion of the programme. Within two years (1981), PES was implemented in 120 municipalities in 14 regions and ten years later, in 1991 PES was already in place in 1,500 municipalities in 14 regions. In 1991, moreover, 143,00 parents were served; this number jumped to 160,000 parents in 1992. In 1992, there were 1,672 ECCD workers in the LGUs and 1,452 PES volunteers working with the parents and children. PES was also implemented within the centre-based component of ECCD by 18,633 day-care workers. Based on available regional information, DSWD reports that approximately 467,123 parents have directly benefited from the PES sessions conducted by 1,571 PES implementors and 9,365 accredited PES volunteers from 1992 to 1996. This was made possible through various interventions such as the Neighbourhood Parent Education Assembly, Home Trainings and Day Care Services Parents Group.

          PES consists of weekly meetings for groups of 10 to 20 parents and home visits by trained parent volunteers. To expand the coverage of PES, radio programmes have been developed. Pamilyang Pinoy sa Himpapawid (The Filipino Family on the Air), with a 30-minute magazine format has had 13 episodes, which constitute a course compatible with PES modules on parenting, were aired from 1993 to 1995. A second set of 13 programmes was being developed in 1995 using the Convention on the Rights of the Child as framework. Local radio stations provide free airtime. DSWD reports that about 7,317 parents participated in this radio programme during its lifetime. The production of the radio programme is an example of effective GO-NGO and intergovernmental agency cooperation between the DSWD Bureau of Family and Community Welfare, the Philippine Children’s Television Foundation, the Philippine Information Agency and UNICEF.

          PES is therefore a viable broad approach to improving ECCD that deserves to be replicated in all municipalities of the Philippines. Currently, an interagency task force composed of DECS, DOH and DSWD is working on the integration of the different concepts and strategies on the provision of parent education. This is in recognition of the role of parents in ensuring the total development of their children. There are also plans to strengthen the interfacing and linkages of basic services at the barangay level.

          There are other several forms of childcare that have been experimented with by the DSWD, but none have been implemented on a large scale.

        3. The Day Care Centre Programme
        4. The concept of day care services was originally started as feeding centres through the now-abolished Bureau of Agricultural Extension, to which mental feeding was added. Large-scale expansion of the public day care system started only after the passage of the 1978 Barangay Day Care Law. There are also privately run day care centres that are operated by NGOs and private entrepreneurs. The DSWD used to provide for the public day care centres, but after the devolution mandated under the Local Government Code of 1991, the responsibility has been placed in LGU hands.

          Government centres are designed to accommodate 30 children at a time, such that when morning and afternoon sessions are run, the total capacity is supposed to be 60. However, most of these centres operate at far less than full capacity. The average day care centre takes in only 43 children per day instead of 60. In reality, the public day care centres keep the children for only two to three hours a day instead of providing the ideal daylong service. To date, only a few centres, found mostly in Regions III and VI, have operationalised the child-minding concept and have extended the centres’ hours to match the working hours of parents. Generally, then, the public day care centres do not address the needs of working mothers because of their limited operating hours.

          A study jointly sponsored by the World Bank and the ADB has concluded that the quality of the day care centre programme is very low. This statement was made in 1995, but indications are that it would still be valid now. The study went on to say that one of the reasons is that most LGUs are preoccupied with expanding the numbers of centres rather than seeing that they work well.

          An attractive alternative to home-based care seems to be emerging, which is factory or workplace-based care. There has been a modest breakthrough in the provision of day care services by factories for their female employees. In addition to the community-based centres, there are also centres located in the different government offices and government-owned and controlled corporations. DSWD’s latest data (1999) show that there are now 20 of such entities operating day care centres both in their central and regional offices. But considering that there are well over 500 government offices and corporations, the present number with day care centres still represents a very small proportion of the total.

          Determining the impact of the existing day care centres is a difficult task at present, since the DSWD itself does not have the data, for instance, to compare the accomplishment of the programme with the total population of children. The Department attributes this to the fact that LGUs have classified their barangays as either service or non-service barangays. The former, where most of the day-care centres exist, includes areas where there is high proportion of disadvantaged families. The latter covers areas where the majority of residents are relatively affluent and where most of the learning centres are privately owned. Data for the non-service barangays are not collected by the LGUs, hence the incompleteness of information.

        5. Pre-school Service Contracting Scheme
        6. Access to pre-schools is largely available only in the urban areas, and such opportunities are availed of mostly by those who can afford to later enrol in private schools. There are relatively fewer pre-schools in the rural areas than in the urban areas because private sector providers realise that most rural families could not afford the costs of pre-schooling. The Government knows that it could not spare additional resources to put up more pre-schools in the rural areas and has taken steps to encourage the NGOs and PTCAs to take the lead in establishing pre-schools in those areas.

          The Pre-school Education Service Contracting Scheme was an innovative effort that could have partially reduced the participation problem. However, the DECS and the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), which are jointly funding the scheme, limited its scope to the 5th and 6th class municipalities, the urban poor communities and relocation areas where there were in the first place very few privately-run pre-schools or none at all. Moreover, since the service-contracting scheme started only in 1997, its impact would not yet be covered by the statistics used in this assessment. However, feedback from the regional and field offices reveal that greater benefits would redound to this programme if it were expanded to cover more localities other than those that are presently authorised. Noting the positive effects of the pre-schooling on those who have benefited from the scheme, the field offices further suggest that the programme, limited though as it is at present, could become more efficient if funds for paying the providers are sent on time.

          It must also be mentioned that the current pre-school experience programme being implemented by the DECS through the service contracting scheme runs for only six months. Questions have been raised as to whether the period allotted is enough to provide children the needed skills to help them through the early stages of primary schooling, especially if they come from households with large learning and socialisation deficits. Alternative modes based on longer exposures of 9 months to a full year could be worth experimenting on.

        7. Early Childhood Experiences in Grade 1
        8. The eight-week Early Childhood Experiences in Grade 1 programme was devised in 1992 to provide pupils pleasant and enjoyable activities such as games, stories, exercises and the like, to soften the transition to formal schooling. This intervention actually started in 1991 as the experimental Summer Pre-School Programme (referred to in some regions as Summer Training for Pre-Schoolers). The regional offices reported, then, however, that the intake of summer pre-schools was often hampered by families’ going on out-of-town vacations with their children and by children’s joining their parents in the farms.

          DECS then decided to pursue this school-readiness programme, and in 1992, 66 classes in five regions were put up as pilot classes. These were monitored to determine the impact of the program on the readiness skills of Grade I children. The findings of the study showed that the social, motor and readiness skills were developed among the pupils, which led to the development of self-confidence, good interpersonal relations and more active participation in class activities. Since 1994 then, this UNICEF-assisted endeavour has been expanded to 52 school divisions of the country. Studies have indicated that Grade I pupils who underwent the 8-week ECE curriculum scored significantly higher than their cohorts who did not go through the ECE curriculum. The regions have thus commented favourably on this scheme and are hoping for its further expansion to all school divisions and schools within their respective ambits.

          Nonetheless, the eight weeks devoted to this activity effectively reduces the time available for inculcating learning in Grade 1. Considering that the activities covered by the programme are similar to what are undertaken in the pre-schools, it may in fact be creating a wrong impression about formal schooling on children who have previously gone to pre-schools. Based on the regional feedback, the ECE in Grade 1 is an effective remedial or compensatory tool in the light of the fact that there still is very low participation in pre-schooling. However, an alternative system could be tested whereby Grade 1 entrants who have had pre-schooling could be placed in different sections where the ECE would no longer be applied and where instead an immediate immersion into formal learning would be made. Notwithstanding the disadvantages of the summer programme, the field offices were quite pleased with the outcome, and some believe that this scheme should replace the 8-week ECE in Grade 1.

          Indeed, the Summer programme presents a seemingly better alternative since the teacher-pupil contact time could potentially be longer than the 8-week ECE (longer than its present 6-week course) and does not take time from out of the regular curriculum. However, aside from the children’s potential unavailability as mentioned earlier, there might also be some difficulty in finding teachers to handle the programme during the summer vacation months.

        9. Children in Situations of Armed Conflict (CSAC)
        10. The project is focused on 3 regions in Mindanao but has activities in several other provinces around the country. From a pilot project supporting specific activities of NGOs in 1987, CSAC became a full-fledged program in 1991. It continued as a priority program under CPC IV (1994-1998), targeting about 65,000 children per year.

        11. Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (CIDSS)
        12. This programme was launched in 1994 as the government’s flagship program under the Social Reform Agenda to respond to the unmet minimum basic needs (MBN) of poor families and communities nation-wide. CIDSS is a convergence of social welfare, health, education, early childhood care and development, and other basic services based on MBN. A mid-term (1994-1996) evaluation of the program showed that the unmet MBN in 856 barangays in 289 municipalities of 55 provinces were reduced by an average of 57%. Included in the MBNs are access to pre-school, day care centre and elementary schooling, among others. CIDSS provides support to the establishment of day care centres. As of June 1998, the program has put up 1,089 day-care centres nation-wide, which are included in the statistics presented in the preceding sections of this assessment.

        13. School-Based Health and Nutrition
        14. The number of public health nurses assigned in public schools was increased during the EFA period. From the baseline figure of only 624 regular nurses assigned in the different regions, the number has grown to its present level of 2,240, such that one nurse is now assigned for every 6,000 pupils. The serving of morning meals to school entrants started in 1996 in response to the food deficiency problem of school children who go to school without eating breakfast. In the higher primary grades, mid-morning snacks are provided to severe and moderate cases of malnutrition. These meals are given daily for 120 feeding days during the year. However, In an experiment conducted in 1992 found that school feeding may not be as effective as supply-side interventions such as the provision of multi-grade teaching materials in reducing drop-out rates and improving student scores in achievement tests. A 1989 study found that the provision of free milk in school was not an effective way to reduce student absenteeism. This same study also discovered, however, that the Alternative School Nutrition Programme (ASNP) was found to be most successful in terms of sustainability. About 80% of the primary recipients of the seed money were able to turn the money over to the secondary recipients. In addition, a weight survey in one region showed that 75 percent of the severely underweight children who participated in the ASNP improved their weights significantly.

        15. Other Developments in ECCD
        16. Clinic-based ECCD
        17. This is an integral part of maternal and child health (MCH) services, which are made available primarily through a network of public and private hospitals, private clinics, municipality-based main health centres (MHCs) and barangay health stations (BHSs). The MHCs and BHSs are government facilities that are primarily responsible for the delivery of basic health care services to communities especially in the rural areas. A doctor and a public health nurse oversee the MHC. On the other hand, the BHS is a simple clinics staffed by a rural health midwife who is assisted by a barangay health worker.

          In 1997, there were about 1,817 public and private licensed hospitals throughout the country with an aggregate capacity of 84,648 beds. The public sector accounts for 36% of these hospitals and 53% of total bed capacity. Majority of government hospitals and hundreds of private hospitals have been recognised as "mother and baby-friendly" in the sense that they encourage, protect and support breastfeeding through the practice of rooming-in.

          There are now more than 2,400 MHCs and 11,500 BHSs nation-wide. The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Service of the Department of Health (DOH) is the frontrunner of various maternal and child health programs nation-wide. Over the years, thousands of midwives and health workers have been trained and equipped to become competent providers of basic maternal and child health services even to distant barangays. They have provided technical services and assisted in educating mothers nation-wide of the importance of the MCH program. The program accomplished the following as of 1995: 1.87 million mothers given at least 3 prenatal visits; 1.19 million mothers given delivery care; and 1.17 million mothers given postpartum care.

          An important component of MCH is the Expanded Program for Immunisation (EPI), which aims to prevent and control poliomyelitis, neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles and tuberculosis through immunisation. Since the successful implementation of the National Immunisation Day in 1993, the number of fully immunised children has risen dramatically to 97% or over 10 million children under 5 as of 1997.

          In addition, the MCH program provides for the control of diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infection, dengue, malaria and malnutrition among children. Recently, the DOH decided to introduce an integrated management approach in the control of these diseases. This approach called Integrated Management of Child Illness (IMCI) recognises that many children have more than one disease and helps the health worker led to an accurate identification of illnesses and speeds up referral of severely ill children. Each child’s immunisation status is checked, vaccination is given as needed and nutrition counselling is provided. IMCI is one of the interventions to be implemented under the current World Bank-assisted Early Child Development (ECD) Project.

          Equity of access to clinic-based ECCD services may be partly gleaned from the distribution of the various health facilities. Table IV-10 below clearly shows the maldistribution of hospital beds, main health centres and barangay health stations across the country. The two more affluent regions of NCR and Region IV, for instance, already account for 42% of the total number of hospital beds. Although most regions are within the ratio of 1 bed per 1,000 population, these ratios do not take into account the degree of utilisation of the hospital services. Many hospitals, especially public hospitals, have actually low occupancy rates mainly due to inappropriate hospital site, poor accessibility and inadequate supply of drugs and medicine, among others.

          However, there is an uneven distribution of main health centres and barangay health stations among the various regions. The table indicates that many community health facilities will have to service a much larger number of people compared with the others. The case of NCR having 1 BHS to 4.8 million population is an exception: many Metro Manila residents actually take advantage of the presence of numerous and highly accessible government and private hospitals, private clinics, health centres, puericulture centres and other health facilities. In the other regions, many barangays are unserved by the basic health facilities. Moreover, many of the community health facilities suffer from lack of medicine and medical supplies.

          Table -11: Ratio of Health Facilities to Population


          No. of Hosp. Beds

          Bed: Popn Ratio


          MCH:Popn Ratio


          BHS:Popn Ratio



          1: 845


          1: 29,084


          1: 6,035



          1: 365


          1: 26,280


          1: 4,809,162



          1: 589


          1: 13,329


          1: 2,480



          1: 1,099


          1: 26,269


          1: 4,715



          1: 1,153


          1: 26,360


          1: 4,749



          1: 1,217


          1: 28,028


          1: 5,857



          1: 1,161


          1: 34,876


          1: 6,853



          1: 1,085


          1: 34,100


          1: 5,928



          1: 1,220


          1: 40,766


          1: 4,597



          1: 986


          1: 23,002


          1: 4,845



          1: 1,265


          1: 21,600


          1: 4,783



          1: 1,049


          1: 28,004


          1: 4,729



          1: 890


          1: 28,646


          1: 4,837



          1: 784


          1: 45,950


          1: 5,700



          1: 948


          1: 44,643


          1: 4,601



          1: 2,603


          1: 22,754


          1: 5,818


          No. of hospital beds based on DOH data as of CY 1997

          1997 population projection used for bed/population ratio

          No. of MHCs and BHSs based on DOH data as of CY 1996

          1996 population projection used for MHC/population and BHS/population ratio

          Universal Quality Primary Education

        18. Dropout Intervention Programme (DIP)
        19. The DIP is one of the initiatives within the PPA, which aims to reduce the incidence of dropout. It is also directed at improving the achievement of pupils in selected schools in 5th and 6th class municipalities in the Social Reform Agenda (SRA) provinces through certain interventions. These interventions include: multi-level learning materials (MLMs)-assisted instruction, MLM-assisted instruction with parent-teacher partnership (MLM with PTP), school feeding (SF), and SF with PTP. In 1997, a breakfast feeding programme was implemented as an intervention in 33 selected schools with high dropout rates.

          Evaluation of the 2-year pilot phase implementation of DIP, which covered 30 schools showed significant results in terms of an increase in the mean percentage scores of children in the experimental group. MLM-PTP and MLM interventions were found to be most effective in year 1 and 2, respectively. SF with PTP emerged as most effective in reducing absenteeism as results show an 18 percent reduction in the mean absenteeism rate. Due to its positive results, DIP was expanded to 54 schools in 1994 and to 82 schools in 1998 to the present. The Bureau of Elementary Education (BEE) of the DECS expects the programme’s institutionalisation in the schools that participated in the pilot and 2nd phase implementation of the project.

        20. Multi-Grade Schools Programme
        21. Multi-grade and combination classes were undertaken mainly in selected mountain and island divisions as a probable solution to the problem of incomplete schools. Such schools, apart from restricting access and participation because of their lack of capacity to accommodate more grades, are too often characterised by inadequate school facilities and materials, especially textbooks, remain to be prevalent in many provinces. As of SY 1996-97, for instance, approximately one-third of public elementary schools were still incomplete. This programme has been well received by the field units of the DECS, who have given the MG scheme high marks for greatly enlarging enrolments and keeping children in school. Regional feedback has it that more MG classes should be put up while the problem of incomplete schools has not been resolved. LGUs could be tapped to contribute materials and labour for the construction of structures to house MG classes. MG multi-level materials should always be on hand, such that the DECS should make sure that the supply is always available.

          Through DECS Order no. 38, s. 1993, MG was adopted as a national strategy to improve access and progress in elementary education. Consequently, the number of MGCs dramatically increased. As of SY 1993-94, 1,653 multi-grade classes were organised with a total enrolment of 93,170. Minimum learning competencies (MLCs) for multi-grade classes and a handbook on multi-grade teaching were developed. These materials were designed to enable a teacher to handle MGCs without formal training. In addition, a budget of work was prepared to facilitate the teacher’s tasks in planning daily lessons. This was supported by sample lessons for all learning areas, multi-grade tests and multi-level materials. For SY 1994-95, the number of multi-grade classes organised was 5,201. UNDP provided funding assistance in the reprinting of 171 titles of multi-level materials and the development of 123 other titles.

          The UNDP-assisted Pupil Learning Enhancement Program undertakes direct support to multi-grade classes through the provision of supplementary pupil learning materials and encourages community support to the program. The project is focused on 4 selected PCCD provinces: Surigao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur, North Cotabato, and Negros Oriental. In SY 1995-96, around 17,000 multi-grade classes were held, most of lthem in the regions of Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Western Mindanao. The program was strengthened by (i) the training of 9,454 teachers and administrators on multi-grade instruction (constituting 43% of the total targetted trainees of 21,678) and (ii) the production and distribution to all regions of multi-grade instructional packages. For SY 1996-97, a total of 12,980 out of a targeted 20,479 teachers were trained on multi-grade instruction.

          Likewise, a Multi-grade DEMO School Project (MDSP) has been established to improve the overall performance of MG schools through the training of teachers and school officials and the provision of textbooks and instructional materials. In particular, 12 MG demonstration schools were established. A series of training programs have also been conducted to strengthen MG teachers’ and parateachers’ capability in managing the multi-grade system of the country. Some 1,863 teachers from 9 divisions have been involved in the trainings from May to December 1997.

        22. Television as an Educational Delivery Tool
        23. Using TV sets to teach science was introduced in the public elementary schools in June 1995 through a program called Sine’skwela. Produced by the ABS-CBN Foundation, said show is designed to supplement the elementary science curriculum. Hence, its viewing was made mandatory. Two more TV programs which were started in 1997 are currently being aired over ABS-CBN, namely: Hiraya Manawari, a fairy tale format program that injects values, and Bayani, a show that teaches children the values of nationalism and heroism by recounting the exploits of national heroes. The Continuing Science Education via Television (CONSTEL) was also launched in 1995 to boost the development of science awareness among Filipinos. DECS Order No. 53, s. 1996, enjoined the institutionalisation of the use of CONSTEL tapes in elementary and secondary schools.

        24. Teacher-Child-Parent Approach (TCPA)
        25. TCPA was first utilised to deliver instruction and value inculcation in health and nutrition. TCPA makes use of a closer home-school partnership that actively involves parents by training them on how to reinforce, through actual practice at home, what is learned by their children in school. It also involves a transfer of knowledge, attitudes and skills from the teacher to the child, then from the child to the parents through a package of information, education and communication materials. Close to all the regions have implemented this scheme, and some variations have emanated that uses the TCP Aapproach for other teaching-learning activities such science and civics. In 1993, DECS Region II even initiated, with funding support from Plan International, a programme to train teachers in the use of the approach for teachers. However, the TCP approach has not been institutionalised and still is a pilot project until the present.

        26. Region-Based Learning Improvement Initiatives

There are region-based EFA-related projects that specifically aim to improve reading and math skills among pupils and the capability of teachers to teach these subjects. Project BRIGHT (Better Reading Instruction Geared Towards Higher Thinking Skills) was initiated in 1995 to train primary school pupils to analytically read and to answer questions logically. It was implemented on a pilot basis in some regions where it is currently on-going, but some regions have stopped it as early as 1994. Substantial level of funding was needed to reproduce the Learning Continuum and other teaching materials. There have been many other reading skills improvement projects that have in one time or another been implemented in the various regions, going by different titles (Upgrading Reading Skills, Corrective Reading, Strengthening Instruction in Reading, etc.) but with essentially the same objectives. Project RISE (Regional Initiative in Science Education) was aimed at training science and math teachers who are non-science or math majors.and Project SMEMDP (Science and Mathematics Education Mastery Development Programme (SMEMDP)’s objective was to upgrade teachers’ competencies in the teaching of Math through practical work. In-service training, even if these are done in-house by DECS requires substantial funding for books, materials and stipends for board and lodging, such it is highly dependent on budgetary outlays. Typically, these projects were executed on a pilot basis and later discontinued for a variety of reasons, but primary through fund shortage.

Alternative Learning Systems

The progress in the literacy levels in the Philippines can reasonably be inferred as largely a result of the high participation rate in formal basic education, which features an almost universal coverage in primary (or elementary) education. However, the gains being made by both the government and non-governmental organisations in providing the basic learning needs of the still substantial number of illiterates or those with very minimal schooling effectively contribute to the increasing literacy rates.

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